This episode is based on the following article: 6 Methods To Generate New Product Ideas and And Kick-Start Your Creativity
Many people assume that they aren’t good at coming up with new or creative ideas. They say, “I’m not a creative person” or “I wish I had thought of that!” With the right focus, method, and tools, you can train yourself to think creatively. I’ve used these step-by-step techniques to brainstorm new product ideas and features. If you have a product idea,  put these methods to work in other stages of the development process. Think of new markets and applications, packaging details, or ways of advertising your product.
In this episode, we learn about

*  Your Creative Muscle

* With practice, anyone can think of great ideas
* Creativity grows and becomes easier to turn on and off as we use it
* When brainstorming ideas, quantity is better than quality
* Recognize when you need a break

* Generate New Ideas By

* Look Inward
* Get Out of Your Head
* 6-3-5 Brainstorming
* “This” for “That”
* Watch Trends

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

* Full Notes: 6 Methods To Generate New Product Ideas and And Kick-Start Your Creativity
* Listener Ad

* Bekla Torch

United States


00:00:00the product start up episode fifty five training creativity and getting more ideas and last time hi everyone and welcome to the product of five gas where we talk about turning ideas into successful products step by step I'm Lisa and thanks for listening to me today in the last
00:00:18episode we talk to Dan and Justin with Milton the meal time companion so make sure to check out episode fifty four if you want to hear more about industrial design engineering and prototyping who'd say children's products in today's episode I want to talk about a skill that is
00:00:37pervasive in the entire product development process and that's coming up with interesting ideas whether it is ways of prototyping your product or manufacturing it differently were testing it differently with your audience or even marketing it creativity plays a huge role in using your budget and time really efficiently
00:00:59many people that I talk to assume that they're not good at coming up with new or creative ideas they say Hey I'm not a creative person or I wish I'd thought of that and I think that with the right focus method in tools you can train yourself to
00:01:13think creatively I've used these step by step techniques myself to brainstorm new product ideas and if you have a product idea I would put these methods to work in other stages of the process so for example thinking of new markets and applications packaging details or ways of advertising
00:01:31your product the first of all I think that creativity is just like a muscle coming up with good ideas is a process it's not something that happens by magic and I found that the journey to the best ideas isn't really a straight line it's kind of this blend
00:01:47of accident inspiration and investigation a lot of this is within our control so bottom line with practice anyone can think of great ideas when I first started out in my career after my first few jobs I felt a lot less creative this was clear to me after I
00:02:06took on a roll managing other designers and engineers at large companies engineers and designers turn ideas into products using proven methods that work we followed processes that simplify variables help build quality products and in short creativity took a backseat towards consistency so like any skill creativity grows and
00:02:26becomes easier to turn on and off as we use it so we think back to when we were young it was really easy to drop pictures or great lego models or no claim animation or whatever that we were doing in the past of imaginary things that didn't really
00:02:42exist we were blind to why things didn't work as kids are creativity was on track and I think it's possible to get our brains to think this way again with practice everything around us can inspire us trip to this grocery store magazine articles conversations with friends will take
00:03:00on new meanings and some days my head turns into this like popcorn maker of ideas just bouncing off the walls the internal chatter is just deafening I have the right ideas on sticky notes in my phone or in a notebook just to clear my head and ask them
00:03:16out so when you're brainstorming ideas quantity is better than quality it takes many ideas to come up with a few that may be successful the ones that stick and ideas build on each other so our brains combine these mundane thoughts in new ways to come up with something
00:03:32unique and sometimes this happens while sleeping or doing something not less like raking leaves or washing the car and so when I need to be creative I isolate myself and listen to music on repeat how you disconnect is specific to you learn what works for you to go
00:03:48to it noisy coffee shop a quiet library or maybe out in nature where you can disconnect completely from technology just remember the quickest way a killing creativity as to think practically don't think of ways that your ideas work right now if you let those thoughts in your right
00:04:06brain the creative side will switch off in your left brain the analytical side will take over to keep those ideas flowing they'll be time to analyze them later and for now focus on creating new concepts and letting them feed off each other listen to your body and recognize
00:04:22when you need to take a break much like a muscle once exhausted your creativity needs to recharge do something with the other half of your brain for example in the morning I will work on creative tasks and then in the afternoons I'll work to return emails and phone
00:04:38calls when I don't need to be as creative so on this episode I'm going to talk about six ways that we can all come up with much better ideas in a tactical way steps that we can take that will generate new ideas automatically just by following the process
00:04:53and those techniques are looking in word getting out of our heads technique that is called six three five brainstorming a technique called scamper then doing substitution or what I call this for that and then lastly looking at trends so number one looking inward Harvey mackay said find something
00:05:12you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life passion pushes us forward when we had a challenge is the reason that we jump out of bed in the morning and it helps us deal with it tedious difficult parts of our work but
00:05:23unless you can make money with it our passions are just hobbies I really enjoy working with my hands and feel energized after a day of building things before Dave back cabinet was a pile would working with creative freedom on repetitive tasks in solitude is much like meditation for
00:05:40me people make a living building custom furniture and I've definitely day dreamed about following that path but deep down I know that I could pay our bills through my woodworking I'm certainly not efficient and I spend way too much time setting up each step an absolutely I can
00:05:54fix those things but the truth is working other people's designs and building to their deadlines would take away the creativity that I enjoy now so since I understand that market I think I'm better off using my hobby is inspiration to help me think of products that would workers
00:06:10might need a great example of this is the sauce stop which is a table saw that stops the blade within five milliseconds of contact with any body part someone took their perspective their hobby and created a solution for so take action now brainstorm Mr passions your hobbies your
00:06:28dreams your fears your frustrations what did you enjoy as a child that you didn't do as an adult what keeps you from doing those things mentally walk through your day and list out your tasks including getting ready for the day towards around the house working include things that
00:06:45you hate or you put off intentionally or maybe even subconsciously using the above list think of the products that would solve those problems imagine a trip to the future how have products made any of those above tasks more enjoyable or efficient or easier for you number two get
00:07:06out of your head at work my best resources for new ideas are our customers employees and suppliers great supplier specialize in materials or manufacturing processes and spot potential issues before we do employees are quality control assembly and testing departments nor products inside out them great ideas for improvements
00:07:28to our product line every day our customers rely on what we make to get their own work done and they expect results and they do that without wearing any rose tinted glasses so if we're lucky our customers tell products support their issues and engineering gets a chance to
00:07:45fix the design we can all be blind to faults in our own creations so our team and our customers let us know what works and what to fix but only if we listen to some great examples of products that have done this and these are just random examples
00:08:00that I found online is pro teeth guard dot com they ship custom made guards direct to the consumer cutting out the cost of healthcare by removing the middle man which is typically the dentist it takes impression black milk clothing creates unique tights with these niche patterns for people
00:08:20bored by this standard colors of heights beard brand new that you might be familiar with develop men's grooming products keep up with an increasing popularity of beers and by the way I'm not endorsing in any of these products and I don't have any experience with them personally I'm
00:08:37just bringing them up because they're great examples of companies using customer feedback to drive that design process some even set up spaces for visitors to give feedback and ideas so sometimes this can generate a lot of noise because you've got lot of people giving you advice that maybe
00:08:52doesn't have a whole lot of value so companies might ask visitors to bell on ideas or rank submission somehow at one point dell computer at a site called idea storm that had over twenty three thousand ideas submitted seven hundred forty thousand votes over a hundred thousand comments and
00:09:12only five hundred and forty ideas implemented and that last figure really jumped out at me dell basically implemented let little bit over two percent of the ideas that were submitted so clearly it takes a lot of effort to find usable ideas but it's also a smart strategy for
00:09:29the company to get lots of ideas interact with customers to strengthen their brand for relatively little effort other companies have kind of followed suit my Starbucks idea as a site there's a B. M. W. co creation lab that also does crowdsourcing and how could it be different dot
00:09:49org is a independent site where anyone can submit and vote on ideas and almost any topic so take action now of course if you had customers or a focus group to interview maybe you would be listening to this podcast until you do use your competitors customers and create
00:10:08your own focus group ask people about their origin pain how are they coping with the problem really dig deep with them get to the root of the issue make sure to discuss the core problem and not just the symptoms to keep asking the wires look at the online
00:10:25reviews where the must have features mentioned by commenters were the biggest frustrations list up a measurable waste products in your market the people's needs interview early adopters in your niche speak with people who use cutting edge products with new technology early adopters are more forgiving of products shortcomings
00:10:44in the cave products with features unseen before many evil even pay a premium for a product that no one else has even if it's a beta release so interview people around you is the product specific to a place or time listen for trigger words like I hate when
00:11:03blank happens and I'm not ready or informed or prepared I don't have time or energy to blank I wish I was more efficient blank or I get bored when I I wish that link had the blank feature I would buy blank but it's so ugly expensive fragile heavy
00:11:27difficult to use tough to assemble I could be better at blank if I only had so I could be better at a hobby or tour or task if I only had this tool service if you think this doesn't work Google chime Karski and I know I definitely butchered
00:11:46that it's spelled C. H. A. I. M. I K. A. R. SK II eminence companies have done the above every year to bring in annual sales of over one hundred million dollars so I'd like to take a quick break to talk about the one on one coaching that
00:12:04I offer entrepreneurs and other small business owners were launching their physical products if you're just getting started I can work with you to great game plan based on your skill set and budget will go through the product development process together an outline your staffs specific to your industry
00:12:19or product based on your capabilities I can suggest ways that you can create or outsource work of prototypes do feasibility testing or even just make sure that you're working on the idea that has legs most sessions are usually an hour long we talk on Skype or through the
00:12:34phone you set the pace and we come up with a past that you can knock out before we meet again moving at the speed that you're most comfortable with all help to hold you accountable and make sure that you're biting off a right sized chunk that works for
00:12:46you go to the products started dot com and click on the consulting tap to sign up for a call six three five brainstorming this method was designed for six people to brainstorm three ideas each in five minutes I first learned about this technique in college and used it
00:13:03to generate creative ideas within my engineering teams this method works really great for introverts when brainstorming as a group some people aren't comfortable to speak their mind they think they need to agree with a boss or maybe not ruffle any feathers so using this method really gives everyone
00:13:18equal say and works for people who prefer to write or sketch and it creates a lot of ideas in less than thirty minutes so here's an example of how to take action with this method method below works with a group of four people though you can really scale
00:13:33up or down we'll need a sheet of paper pens and pencils for each person and one timer give each person a sheet of paper divide that she'd into equal sections by the number of people the drawing space willful cramped after about four sections so try to split large
00:13:51groups in the smaller teams give a prop to the group such as ideas for a better mousetrap set a timer for three minutes I found that giving people more time just slows down the momentum start the timer round one without talking each person sketches or writes out ideas
00:14:08in the first phase of their sheet when the timer goes off pencils go down in each seat of paper moves clockwise to the next person next step reset the timer to three minutes and start again the second round then begins and without talking each person statues or writes
00:14:27out a new idea in the second space of their sheet they can also add to an idea previously written on this sheet repeat the steps above until you've gone as many rounds of you have sections of the paper at the end of the exercise and definitely within thirty
00:14:42minutes will have several pages full of ideas that you didn't think about war I've used this many times both in small business an entrepreneur settings as well as a corporate setting and it never fails to work scamper take an existing product or feature and turn it into something
00:15:00completely different this method helps you generate ideas that customers may not even know to ask or they may not know what they need or it's even possible to make a product like that so scamper stands for **** substitute materials processes or users see combined products are features a
00:15:20adapt it to do something different am modify or and for me if I or am for magnify a feature shaper meaning he for put it to another use he four eliminate waste effort time parts and our work rearrange or reverse the layout of components so for example using
00:15:45the key eliminate prompt makes me think of reducing waste in the manufacturing process or reducing the time it takes to manufacture a product or the number of parts where the cost and some examples of companies that took this property to the extreme level and by focusing on let's
00:16:02say eliminating cost and parts in their products you can look to Tonton nano the company that makes a culture a low cost car for cost of twenty two hundred dollars or you can look to XO computer a hundred dollar net book from the one laptop per child foundation
00:16:19or you can look to Siemens sends a which is a low cost MRI unit for use in small clinics in rural areas so take action now choose one problem from scamper and apply it to your idea spend five or ten minutes to come up with an exhaustive list
00:16:37and if you need something that helps you with this about this deck of cards awhile back it's called finger toys by Michael McConnell go it's like the scamper method but has more guided crops just shuffle the deck or card and give your creativity it also works well in
00:16:54groups so for example you can pass out cards to everybody on the team assign each person or small group to brainstorm new ideas based on that art using substitution or this for that I'm sure that there is the proper term for this method but for now I've named
00:17:11it this for that take the benefits of a product in one industry and apply them to a new product in a different field this encourages me to think of new applications and helps me shift my perspective for example in one last name industries fields our passions and interests
00:17:29this will be like a list of markets for your product don't pick similar industries they should have little or no connection an example of this would be listing out industries and interests so list one would have healthcare for the elderly tools for workers food specifically barbecue then in
00:17:47the second list right out products that have changed how people do things along with their benefits if you start for ideas C. eBay or Amazon bestseller lists in these products really shouldn't have anything in common with the industries that you picked on this one so in our list
00:18:05to example here we would choose number one a tablet the benefits are portable entertainment a replacement for your laptop or PC the second item on the list might be a segue the benefits are moving people on towards our security patrol and it's easy to use and takes you
00:18:23to places without effort or thinking and the third item on the list might be Sugrue party and if you have heard of this product is actually really cool it's a cross between clay and glue that helps anyone make quick DIY repair so now let's combine the items from
00:18:39the first list with parts of the or features of the second list and see if something sticks so the final list is I tablet designed for the elderly that's easy to use and comfortable the whole again we combined just the first items on the list maybe tablet apps
00:18:58with a virtual tour of the top thirty barbecue smoke houses in the country with interviews and recipes from owners or maybe you could create a set of wooden plugs to fill holes left by old hardware like hinges and drawer handles on wooden drawers and cabinets again all we're
00:19:18doing is combining the industry like food with the benefit of other revolutionary products like for example the Segway that moves people on course and you can do this with any market any type of product just to get the juices flowing another way to get really great ideas and
00:19:36to watch trends now before you turn off the podcast and completely dismiss this idea I absolutely agree that the probably the worst product ideas are the meat you products that capitalize on the success of a competitor or fad without really adding value so many times the me too
00:19:54products compete only on price at the cost of features or quality a good example of this was the hand that due to old in three D. it was on sale for maybe a few months before I saw at our local craft store here in Houston on clearance because
00:20:07it didn't really saw the need it just seems that someone took the technology and headline of the day paired it with an existing product greedy printing plus hot glue gun eagles new product the goal of these need to product seems to sell enough units at inflated prices until
00:20:22people get over the fact the apple Newton failed while the apple iPad created the entire industry and while these technologies are different the timing in market conditions determine success and failure for sure and there wasn't a need for people to have tablets until developers created the apps to
00:20:39show the need for tablet of course without paying users carried over from the iPhone developers would have needed more convincing tablets existed between the apple Newton and the iPad but none with the same level of success as the latter looking back to some data consumers are becoming increasingly
00:20:56more health conscious more tech savvy and more interested in self care looking at the tech industry specifically we can see the rise of the co op economy right like uber left Airbnb consumer level three D. printing like make robot and all the other machines that came to your
00:21:12local brick and mortar faster communication like Snapchat and other tools wearable computing like the pebble watch on Kickstarter that was a pretty big success even though they sold out and automation Google Mastin Alexa and all the other products that are out there so some product ideas that come
00:21:30to mind based on these trends an increase in the use and maybe the drop in price of three D. scanners and tools to aid in digitizing products because people don't really want to bother with three D. modeling their own parts they just want to get stuff out there
00:21:43and then what if someone focused on new three D. printer filament types and other accessories so you could make things out of not just plastic but maybe some complex blend of materials that are maybe a plastic is the binding agent that he uses particulates together you've got aggregate
00:21:59in concrete where you've got pebbles in concrete that you could have plastic holding together bits of metal or other things they get pregnant another idea might be products that help people protect people's privacy while on the internet or ensures that they get proper service despite eroding that neutrality
00:22:14rules so let's take action timing is everything if you're looking at trends if you don't help on early it's almost impossible to catch up but if you're too early then you're the apple Newton and the market may not be ready for your product I look for changes in
00:22:31technology that have a large impact on the world around us and open the door for new products I try to read industry journals and listen to news reports watch for companies making large investments in research and development specific fields where are the talented people working so what companies
00:22:48are stealing away talent right now Amazon Google Hoover what type of technologies are those people working on I'm going to leave a list of sites in the show notes for you to check out that includes trend publications that monitor trends worldwide crowdfunding websites and product blogs that have
00:23:06unique or niche products for specific audiences there's also ways of taking out friends through social media and by looking at merchants to see what their best selling products are that's really one of the best ways to see where the market is going by looking at training products on
00:23:21eBay looking at Amazon best sellers looking on at C. training items you can even go on all the express and look at their popular products this was the information packed episode about the top techniques that I used to generate new ideas as there's definitely a lot more than
00:23:38this but the bottom line is that you need to practice this every day and as I mentioned on the just start challenge by the way if you haven't taken that you can sign up for it on the website under the resources tab you need to practice some of
00:23:51the stuff every day and that means just taking one of these techniques and practicing with it and using that until you get really comfortable with it and once you start getting results from it you're going to feel a lot better about it but it's also going to help
00:24:04train that brain muscle that creativity muscle that I talked about early on so the number one thing to remember with all of this is it's not necessarily the tactics it's staying consistent with the practice and is doing it whenever you have some time I certainly don't think that
00:24:21people are born creative I think all of us can help train our creative muscle and I definitely think it's possible for even people that they claim to have no creativity to start looking at the world differently so to summarize the the top techniques to generate new ideas are
00:24:38to look inward get out of your head six three five brainstorming using the stamper method using substitution or this for that and then watching trends and now here's a thirty second ad spot from listener Daniel Cole who's launched a Kickstarter campaign for back look torch hi I'm the
00:25:01products out of business this is done from Becca what a startup based in UK and I'm excited to tell you that money product back a torch it's a compact brides and he decides that can be used anywhere it's about to dock spaces handbags tools wardrobes when you camping
00:25:15or even the toilets at night it has a wide angle LED beam for fixing options on multiple times isn't giving you the flexibility to speak on aids we launched on Kickstarter on the twentieth of June take it like this and in fact the torch and please back us
00:25:29in the meantime check is a Facebook page back the torch that speak que LA torch for more info thanks keep up the great work we love it thanks Daniel for submitting that clip and good luck to you I hope you get some great feedback from the products are
00:25:43the audience for this particular episode I have an extensive article dedicated to what I talked about here so if you find the show notes I'll direct you to the appropriate the site with all the links and resources that you need to take action I also have a bit
00:25:59of news the podcast after thinking about it for a few months I've made a decision to suspend the podcast my wife and I are having our second daughter in August and I have a list of home renovation projects to complete before the sleepless nights begin and as I
00:26:12mentioned on previous episode I'm also joining my mom's real estate business before she retires and I'm still mentoring start ups that station Houston which is a local startup incubator I'm also still working with clients and continuing to manage my Amazon products so I've got a pretty full plate
00:26:28I'm still really passionate about product development and encouraging you to get going on your products and that's why launch this podcast and that's also why I'll continue to help where I can in the product startup workshop which is our private Facebook group so join the group if you
00:26:43haven't already and if you're not yet on the email list make sure you sign up by going to the park startup dot com and scroll to the border I will be sending as much mail out but I'll continue to send out news and tips as I run across
00:26:56them and I'll let you know when I restart the show so thank you for listening to the show and for giving me your feedback good luck on your own products start up and if you haven't started already remember that the first step to success is to just start

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